Kamla Advani, a Bridge Between Advani, Vajpayee
An integral part of Advani’s life & politics, Kamla was never interfering, obtrusive
New Delhi: Namita Bhattacharya was among the first ones to reach BJP leader LK Advani’s house on Wednesday after hearing of his wife Kamla’s death. Daughter of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Namita had enjoyed ‘Kamlaaunty’s’hospitalityumpteen timesandwasalsoprivytomealtime banter between the two leaders.
Her presence at the Advani household was not only to express the loss thatshefelt.Itwasmoreforthegrief she knew her ailing father experienced at passing away of the warm andpragmaticKamlaAdvani.
Advani’s son Jayant confirmed Namita’s visit, as also that of her husband Ranjan Bhattacharya on Thursday mor ning at their Prithviraj Road residence.
Kamlaji, as she was respectfully addressed by most party leaders, had been the bridge between Advani and Vajpayee on several occasions, whenever there was a hint of any differences.
People close to the two leaders recallhowKamlaAdvanihadanindependent rapport with Vajpayee and how he would call her directly and invitehimself forlunch.Thesecalls generally coincided with the times when the relationship between the two leaders had hit a rough patch or somethingsneededtobeironedout.
“Kamla ji wasnotonlyanextremely warm person, she also had an incisive intelligence and intuitive political wisdom. Advaniji has the tendency wto retreat into his shell beyond a point. This was when his wifemadethedifference,”disclosed a leader close to the family.
Vajpayeeinvitedhimself forlunch – apartfromtheinnumerabletimes he has eaten at Advani household — on at least two known occasions. Once was during the Armsgate defence deal scandal in 2001 and then in the wake of controversy over Advani’s Lahore visit in 2005. There were whispers that things between the two leaders were not well, and that Advani, owing to Vajpayee’s seniority, was finding it difficult to present his view point. “It was then Vajpayee called up Kamlajiand announced that he was coming for lunch the next day, giving Advani a fait accompli,” the leader said. Advani’s wife cooked Vajpayee’s favourite Sindhi Kadhi among other things and kheer for dessert.
Things were not always serious around the lunch table at Advani’s house. In fact, during one of Kamla aunty completed Dada (Advani)... It was a completely collaborative relationship
Vajpayee’s many meals there, Kamla Advani told the guests that when she saw Advani for the first time, he was wearing trousers. However, when she saw him in his Sangh avatar, wearing a dhoti, she told him that had she known he would be dressing like that, she wouldn’thaveagreedtomarryhim.
It was clear that Kamla Advani was an integral part of his life and politics without being interfering and obtrusive. BJP national secretary Vani Tripathi, who has enjoyed Kamla Advani’s hospitality on several occasions, says, “Kamla aunty completed Dada (Advani). They represented the Ardhnareshwar in the true sense. It was a completely collaborative relationship.”